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Ground beef and zucchini pasta casserole in a rectangular white baking dish on top of a white cloth

Ground Beef and Zucchini Pasta Casserole


Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 0.5 lb (250 g) lean ground beef (mince beef) 
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (purée)
  • 1 tbsp Italian dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb (500 g) zucchini (courgette) diced
  • 14 oz can (400 g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup (240 g) beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 cups (400 g) wholewheat pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1 cup (250 g) ricotta cheese room temp
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) sharp (mature) cheddar cheese grated
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed, stalks discarded

Instructions

  1. Prep: Gather and prepare your ingredients. You’ll need a casserole dish roughly 13 x 7 x 2.5 inches in size. 
  2. Sauté: Pour the olive oil into a large skillet or frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onions in the hot skillet until they start to soften ~ about 5 minutes. 
  3. Brown: Add the ground beef and cook until brown and no pink remains ~ about 6 minutes.
  4. Add: Stir in the tomato pasteItalian dried mixed herbs, salt, pepper, and sauté for one minute. Then, add the garlic, and cook the ground beef mixture for one minute more. Next, combine zucchini into the meat mixture, stirring until coated in all the flavors.
  5. Simmer: Pour the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, and tamari into the zucchini mixture and stir well to combine. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken, and the flavors will meld.
  6. Meanwhile: While the beef sauce is simmering away 1) Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/gas 5. 2) Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and cook according to pack instructions. Once cooked, carefully drain the pasta and tip it into the beef sauce. Toss to combine.
  7. Assemble: Now for the best part! Pour the pasta into an ovenproof dish, pressing it down to compact it slightly. Then, spread the ricotta cheese over the pasta in an even layer. Next, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and finish with a generous shower of fresh thyme leaves. Such a delicious way to create a creamy cheese topping!
  8. Bake: Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. And there you have it, one of my favorite recipes, ground beef zucchini casserole!
  9. Serve: Pop your delicious dish on the dinner table and dig in. You can get six individual servings. Great served with a large salad.

Notes

Storage Instructions: Cool to room temperature, store it in an airtight container or freezer bag, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

Reheating Instructions: Place the casserole on a baking tray, and bake at 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4 for 15-20 until piping hot. Alternatively, reheat it in the microwave for about 8 minutes or until piping hot. 

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

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